Los Angeles. the Transatlantic Way: An Introduction

Back in July, a brief fare war broke out across the domestic US carriers for travel from the United States to Ireland in the fall.  Around that time, I wrote a post discussing the process of finding an itinerary to actually use these low fares.

Because simply researching possible itineraries without actually going anywhere isn’t much fun, I booked one for myself and a friend who needed to eventually get from New York to Los Angeles.  This produced a slightly unusual, transatlantic (and backtracking!) way to get to L.A., JFK-LHR-DUB-BRU-JFK-LAX, stopping in Dublin for 5 days and Brussels for 1:

Due to the complexity of the itinerary, I gave up attempting to use multicity and called the Executive Platinum desk.  While this wasn’t actually a mistake fare, the agent placed me on hold for several minutes while verifying that $440/person was, in fact, the correct fare for this trip.

Since matching from Continental Platinum to American Executive Platinum in December 2011, I’ve had 8 systemwide upgrades on AA that I’ve been looking to use.  Up until this trip, I had been sitting at about 90k EQM on AA since May and had little-to-no planned international travel before their expiration date.  While United imposes fare minimums for its systemwides when used on international, long-haul travel, AA has no such requirements, allowing me to fly the entire trip in business class on the AA-operated segments.

Like my trip on United to Europe in January (for $680), $440 for roundtrip business class to Europe plants this trip firmly in revenue rather than award territory.  An award ticket in business class would run 100k miles (plus 20k foregone miles that were earned on this itinerary) and $130, a rather miserable 0.25 cents per mile redemption value.

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